Doug Bartholomew, Samuel Greengard, Glenn Hasek, John Jesitus, Scott Leibs, Kristin Ohlson, Robert Patton, Barb Schmitz, Tim Stevens, and John Teresko contributed to this article. An airplane is heavy, and its manufacturing and maintenance manuals are heavy, too. Imagine the business advantage if this hangar-sized pile of information could be accessed through an icon on a desktop. Imagine the even greater advantage if this complex information were enhanced with animation, video, and other multimedia features that could give manufacturing and maintenance employees a better understanding of how to use it. And imagine how great it would be if the information could be easily modified and updated by engineers and others critical to making the whole thing fly. Computer Associates' Jasmine, an object-oriented database and application-development system, offers organizations a simple tool to build and deploy such dynamic software applications -- and allows them to explore the many new ways of conducting business in the world of multimedia and the Internet. For example, a car-insurance company is using Jasmine to create an application that allows claims adjusters from around the country to store photos of accidents -- taken with digital cameras -- in the database and then use a mouse to color-code the parts of the cars damaged in the accidents. When it's time to issue checks for the repairs, there are no lost photos -- and no confusion about what is covered. In a different example, a toy manufacturer is using Jasmine to create a Web site with 3-D animation of its toys -- and is inviting parents to order them online. "There are two things in the technology arena that are really happening outside of anyone's control," says Yogesh Gupta, Computer Associates' senior vice president of product strategy. "One of them is that the Internet is making it easy for people to get information. Second, user interfaces are evolving from the Windows-style interfaces, which we've all gotten used to in the last five years, to multimedia interfaces. If you look at all the popular computer games, they don't require a learning curve -- they're very cool, very easy to use -- and that's the way user interfaces are going. What businesses are forced to do if they want to lead rather than follow is create software applications that allow them to conduct business in this new age of computing. That requires a set of solutions that allows them to build these applications very easily and quickly and deploy them wherever it makes sense -- on the Internet, in kiosks, or within the company itself." Information has traditionally been maintained in relational databases, which are capable of storing and manipulating characters and numbers on enterprise-level systems but stumble when it comes to handling pictures, video, audio, and other complex "objects." Although some high-tech companies have tried to adapt relational databases to handle objects, Computer Associates -- with development partner Fujitsu Ltd. -- has taken a different approach: It has created a pure object database with the speed, performance, and flexibility to operate on everything from single- to multiuser environments. Jasmine has several features that make it attractive. First, Jasmine's integrated development environment, called JADE, makes the system easy to use -- even by companies without sophisticated technology infrastructures or expensive consultants. Application developers don't need specialized tools or complex programming languages; rather, they can build the application using simple point, drag, and click techniques. In fact, Gupta stresses that Jasmine is designed for the next generation of application builders -- he prefers to call them "composers" -- including Webmasters and graphic designers. Second, once composed, a Jasmine application can be deployed in any environment -- on the Internet, on intranets/extranets, on client/server systems, and in standalone kiosks -- without modification. And third, Jasmine connects seamlessly to the relational databases where organizational information is already stored, allowing the new applications to use -- and extend the value of -- such legacy information systems. "Jasmine is different from any other database-management product," says Karen Moser, an analyst with the Aberdeen Group in Boston. "A lot of people want to build dynamic applications with complex data content and a lot of complex data interactions. With Jasmine, you'll have everything you need to build these new applications as well as all the features you require to bring this into your environment. So Computer Associates is not asking you to throw away anything you already have. They're saying that when you go forward to build these applications -- and they know you must to keep up with the competition -- they have the best technology to build them."